Homeschooling curric choices, 2007-2008 (1st, 3rd & 5th grades)

This past week has been full of curriculum purchases for the upcoming schoolyear.  We are starting our 6th year of homeschooling on September 10th, which feels a very short time away.

I have a love/hate relationship with buying new curriculum.  One of the reasons that I do NOT go to homeschooling conventions is that I’m afraid of being overwhelmed with, “So many good books and ideas, so little time!”  I can’t even let myself read a homeschooling magazine.  Seriously.  Any of them.  I start second- and third- and fourth-guessing myself and angsting about my kids’ education, and whether or not I’m doing enough, or doing the right thing.  So, rather than letting myself get overwhelmed, I just do my best to pick what seems the best choice at the time, and stick with it until it is no longer effective.

That said, I still do love purchasing new stuff.  Even when the core of our studies remains the same, it’s always fun to have new bits injected to provide interest and variation.

Last week, I asked my hubby if I could make some curriculum purchases, and he said, “Wait.”  I pitched a bit of a fit, wanting to make my orders NOW.  Ack.  😦  I’ve since apologized.  That time waiting, I spent researching and refining my choices a bit more, and it turned out that I was glad to have been made to wait.  I sorted all of my curriculum wants & needs into a mini-spreadsheet of high-, medium- and low-priority items.  When I presented it to my hubby on Monday, he asked a few questions, then said, “Looks like all together it’s about $325.00, so why don’t you just go ahead and get all of it?”  WOW.  Fantastic.  And that, I did.  Some things I bought new, and some used, getting the best prices possible for the items.

It’s funny, sort of:  When I began homeschooling, I specifically avoided curricula that was too “Christian,” even though we are most certainly Christian.  My own semi-poor education was chockfull of Abeka, which seems — at times, to me — fakely and overly Christian*, and I was ready to educate my kids differently.  Now… five-plus years later, I’m looking for more ways to integrate our faith into everyday life, and to reinforce Christian principles.  I’m still keeping a plumbline of challenging, accurate, well-produced, well-written materials, but looking for more and more items with a Christian “slant.”  So, this is our Christianiest (I just made that word up 😀 ) year ever.

Here are our plans for both our continued studies, and for the new stuff.

(To note, Ethan is in 5th grade, Grant in 3rd, and Wes in 1st.)

History & Reading:

  • We are going to use Sonlight materials we already have.  I am going to go back and do Sonlight 1 with Grant & Wes.  Ethan is going to continue with Sonlight 3, which we got in February.


  • For Ethan, I purchased Singapore 5A5B workbooks, textbooks & teacher’s guides.   This is the first year I’ve purchased teacher’s guides for his math;  IMO, it’s just not necessary in the early-elementary years;  most of that work can be checked by me by mental calculation. 
  • Grant, as well, gets Singapore 3A – 3B workbooks and textbooks.
  • Wes will be finishing Singapore Earlybird 2A – 2B.  Wesley’s mental math is excellent;  he understands way more about math at age almost-6 than either of his brothers did.  But his handwriting skills lagged, so we weren’t able to do much of the written work in these excellent workbooks last year.  (pic courtesy of





  • For Ethan, we’re going to start Latina Christiana I over again this year.  Last year, we only got through lesson 6.  In order to help us actually complete this program, I purchased the DVD lessons.
  • Both to introduce “foreign” language to Grant & Wes, and to help with their fine motor skills, we’re going to try American Sign Language, starting easy with the See It and Sign It game.

Lastly, not really for school, I got a couple of card games for our family (Do U Know? and Dutch Blitz), and a couple of books for ME, the titles of which really indicate where we are right now:  Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends and Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes . . . in You and Your Kids! 

Hm.  I think that’s it — other than some misc school supplies, which I haven’t figured out yet.  But I saw that we got a card/coupon for $10-off-a-$20-purchase from Office Max, and I’ll use that.  We need a GOOD pencil sharpener; that’s the only potentially slightly-expensive item that I can think of that we’ll need to buy, as far as supplies go.

I’m mostly looking forward to this school year;  I just have a bit of trepidation about having Ethan do so much of his work independently.  But, this past year showed me that instead of focusing on his education firstly, I need to prioritize the younger kids’ work.  Too much of especially Wesley’s stuff got pushed aside in “favor” of the more difficult, time-consuming requirements of Ethan’s work.  I can’t do that this year.


*Like, Christian handwriting, Christian math, Christian health… it seemed/seems contrived and over-the-top.


About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on August 9, 2007, in Books I'm Reading, Christian Living, Get Organized!, Homeschooling, The Dear Hubby, The Kids. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Great post, OSC!! It’s always fun to see what other people use and how they do things. I know what you mean about A Beka. I like Christian stuff too but they are a little over the top sometimes. My daughter got pretty turned off by it. We used it through most of elementary but have shied away from it in middle school and high school. We do still use a couple of their books but have found other things we like better for other subjects.

    I think I saw the Do U Know game at a convention sometime or something and thought it looked cool but didn’t buy it for some reason so I looked online and at book sales and stuff later but never found it. I’ll have to try to find it again. 🙂

  2. What a blessing that you were given the green light for all of your purchases. It shows your husbands trust in you..way to go Proverbs 31 woman. 😀

  3. Hi, The new curriculum of the upcoming school year is very excellent…

    suma valluru

  4. MLBAH ~ I just read a post from a Catholic homeschooling blogger, and she talked about loving a text she was using, but it was propaganda-ish… she then debated a little about GOOD propaganda, and if it’s still all right. I know what she/you mean. That’s one reason why I love Rod & Staff English. They’re not propaganda-ish; they’re *real* and they make no bones about being Amish & Christian. It’s just who they are and it comes out in their publications. I guess I prefer the unveiled, unabashed version of Christianity than the stealth kind, or the put-on kind. And, btw, I didn’t realize your daughter was in high school!!! That’s cool. I never thought I’d hs through hs 😉 but now, with my oldest in 5th grade, I’m giving it heavy consideration, and really hope to do it.

    SGM ~ Well… since I don’t cheerily wake before dawn, I don’t really consider myself a Prov 31 woman, but that’s always a goal, right??? I think the green light was based more on my husband’s generosity than my worthiness. 🙂

    Suma ~ Hm. Well, your comment seems spammish, but I’m going to leave it up.

  5. Yeah, Karen, there’s a difference between being who you are and shoving it down your throat – which sometimes it seems to come across as. I’ve never used Rod & Staff but I’ve heard a lot of people talk about it and everyone seems to like it. Yes, my daughter started high school this year. It kind of freaks me out to think I have a child old enough to be in high school! That means I’m old enough to have a child who’s old enough to be in high school! Yikes! 🙂 I would definitely recommend continuing their homeschool education through high school. It continues to be a huge blessing in our lives. Of course you have to do what’s right for your family and follow God’s will for your lives. Don’t let it scare you away though – there is plenty of help out there if you feel you need it. 🙂

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